Google announced yesterday that its layered 3D browser of the human body has become an open-source project. Google Body was built by Google engineers in their "20% time" - the 1/5th of Googlers' time and energy they can devote to creative projects - of which all other human beings are jealous.

Zygote Media Group, which provided the imagery for Google's modeling, has built Zygote Body with the code. It offers the same navigation and features. To support this launch, the Google Body team has built a new, open-source 3D viewer at open-3d-viewer.googlecode.com. Thanks to the work of Google engineers, any developer can now use the same kind of 3D model browser for her or his own project.

Google has tried out lots of neat-o knowledge projects in the name of "organizing the world's information," only to find that they aren't tenable parts of Google's for-profit plans. As Sergey Brin told us at Web 2.0 last year, Google has long embraced the "letting 1,000 flowers bloom" strategy. While it's now gathering a select few of those flowers into "a nice bouquet" called Google+, some great Google projects have gone open-source.

In November, Google did the same thing to Knol, its Wikipedia-like collaborative knowledge database. It relaunched as a service called Annotum, powered by WordPress.

What kinds of projects can you imagine building with Google Body or the 3D viewer?